Minutes of Learning Partnership Steering Group Meeting Friday 5th June 2009, 11.00 – 15.

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Present at Meeting:Mark Manwaring, Lead Union Learning Rep. Chairman SWT (MM) Tony Shipley, Learning & Development Consultant SWT (TS) Shaun Seymour, Company Council Rep, ASLEF (SS) Clive Chown, Lead Union Learning Rep, ASLEF (CC) Mel Taylor, Learning Organiser, TSSA (MT) Peter Connolly, Lead Union Learning Rep, TSSA (PC) Emma Ramsey, Learning Project Worker, ASLEF(ER) John Walsh, CC Rep, TSSA (JW) Alan Martin, Island Line Union Learning Rep, (AM) Karen Brooks, RMT Development Worker (South), (KB) Michael Campbell, RMT Company Council Rep (MC) Sue Bugden, Business Excellence Assistant SWT (SB) Secretary Apologies Iain Anderson, Full Time Office, TSSA (IA) Andy Lester, Union Learning Rep, ASLEF (AL) Marc Sellis, Vocational Training Manager,SWT (MS) Rickey Goodman Company Council Rep RMT (RG)

Item 1 Minutes of Previous Meeting

Discussion Barrier passes. All staff have barrier passes/travel passes therefore there should be no issue with staff getting through barriers. Family members can also show their family passes to get through barriers. All learners will be given access to Open Learning Centres where required with temporary station passes being issued in line with security policy where appropriate. Any request for temporary station passes should be made to TS. NVQs. Agenda item to be discussed at this meeting. Learning Agreement Notification. SS stated that some managers were still not abiding to the release of ULRs in accordance with the Learning Agreement. TS informed the group that the Learning Agreement had been sent to all managers and as such, if there were concerns at a local level, they should be passed through the appropriate channels. Job Club. An individual turned up at Basingstoke for the cancelled job club. This was due to such short notice of its cancellation. SS stated that after discussion with all the trade union groups prior to the meeting, there was a belief that the Steering Group was lacking in clear direction and that there had to be clearer actions in order for it to be more effective. SS fervently proclaimed that he believed the company was at fault for what he described as politicising an apolitical agenda with the short notice cancellation of Union lead events being used as an example. TS stated

Action(s)

that SS’s opinion in this area was noted.

Item 2 Release and Facilities

Discussion IT Facilities. The issue of limited availability to print off material if using Switch-On outside learning centres was raised. The question was asked if there is a way to connect computers to already available printers within the local area.

Internet Access for ULRs. A request was made that ULRs be given internet access in order for them to be able to conduct their ULR duties more effectively.

Action(s) TS requested that parties identify areas where this would be required. Reps to send locations and number of all computers that need setting up to printers. TS to speak to IT on feasibility once received. TS requested that parties identify reps who already have a SWT email account. Those with no email accounts also to be identified. TS to speak to IT on feasibility once received.

ASLEF PC. A PC has been provided at Woking by ASLEF for Rep/learner use. CC informed the group that this cannot be connected to the intra/internet as not a SWT computer.

TS to speak to IT to look into feasibility of SWT supplying a spare computer with access to intranet for set up at Woking.

3 Time Off for Learners (Essential Skills)

Staff release. SS made a vociferous request in which he categorically demanded the paid release of SWT staff to undertake basic skills training where required. SS further stated that SWT’s sister companies at Stagecoach Group make this facility available to staff and demanded that SWT follow suit. TS stated that he was not aware of this and argued that other company policies were not the concern of SWT. SS countered this by arguing that there should be parity of treatment across the group. Discussion was held regarding recent issues in terms of organisational restructuring and its effect on manning. With that, the potential impact on operational services if such release was granted was also raised. TS reminded SS that regardless of opinion, due process had to be followed and advised that any such requests for release should be passed through the appropriate channels with decisions of this nature not being within the remit of the current forum.

Reps to follow up through appropriate channels.

4 Essential Skills Courses within Learning Centre Item 4 Essential Skills Courses within Learning Centre (Cont’d)

Essential Skills Courses. MT, KB & ER discussed the issue of Essential Skills courses being facilitated on SWT premises by external providers and requested that SWT facilities be released for such facilitation.

Discussion Meeting adjourned at 1230 for clarification on Company position with TS seeking approval. Meeting re-convened at 1245. TS offered facilities for this training provision with a pilot course being suggested at Basingstoke for a period of one month. Take up to be monitored ULRs with a view to potentially holding similar sessions at Waterloo and Southampton, based on availability. Sharing of Information. A discussion was had on the value of sharing of information relating to staff undertaking NVQs as SWT were supporting the award indirectly and employees undertaking learning through Open Learning. It was agreed that information be shared in order to establish learner numbers.

Action(s)

MT to feed back specific dates for the Basingstoke pilot course.

5 Communicati ons/Statist ics

ULR to share statistics on NVQ courses with TS with PC being a central point of contact. TS to share Open Learning data on all learners. TS to discuss with Marc Sellis.

Discussion was further had on the sharing of information on passed drivers in relation to NVQs and retrospective accreditation.

6 Adult Learners Week (update)

Successes. Two events were held at Woking and Fratton An excellent turnout was noted at Woking. Credit was given to ULR Martin Scott for organising the event. The Fratton turn out was not so good as on that particular day there had been rail related issues therefore access was less. Whilst not as successful, ULR Dave Clarke’s efforts were noted for the minutes. A further onThursday confirmed. day 23rd at Waterloo July 2009, is scheduled room to be

TS to ask Network Rail if any available rooms at Waterloo were available and feedback to KB. Additionally, SS to investigate to see if any available rooms at Waterloo through ASLEF.

7 Open Learning Update

Learning Mentors. TS informed the group that since the last meeting, the budget cuts that were suggested have now taken place. Moving forward, Open Learning access in terms of support will be available one day a week, but instead of a walk in facility to discuss requirements, appointments will need to be booked through Alan Coleman at Spring Park House. Four trainers have been appointed as Learning Mentors (LMs) who will as part of their duties facilitate Open Learning. The four LMs will be available at Basingstoke, but if demand requires it, they will visit Open Learning Centres where needed. The LMs are:     Tony Shipley Ann Hoad Kirstie Angell Peter Connolly

Item

Discussion

Action(s)

7 Open Learning Update (Cont’d)

LM Development. TS stated that he was looking for a course to help the four LMs become more competent in undertaking their new duties. Research had identified that as there are only four in the group is was deemed to too small for a college to take on. ULRs suggested that they could find at least four other participants to join. Skillsoft. TS informed the group that the 200 Licenses for SkillSoft will cease as of Sept 2009 due to funding restrictions. This resource will be replaced with alternative methodologies. Funding. SS vehemently requested that the group be informed on what the Open Learning budget was and how Open Learning spends its budget quoting Section 4 of the Learning Agreement – Identify funds for education and training and Section 13 – Equal Opportunities. It was emphasised by TS that how SWT funds, and indeed allocates its funding was not a place for the group. TS argued that the fact that funding was allocated met the agreement. SS disagreed and warned that SWT could be in breach of the Learning Agreement by not disclosing this information with the issue of potential arbitrary/preferential funding being raised without disclosure. TS emphasised that the company approach was one of integrity however, if SS felt the need to challenge the application of the agreement he was free to do so through the appropriate channels. SS requested the criteria for allocation of funding. TS informed the group that this criteria was to be reviewed as part of the changes to Open Learning and with its criteria being promulgated at the next meeting. In addition SS argued that key parts of the Learning Agreement required group clarification and requested that this be put in as an agenda item for the next meeting.

PC to identify appropriate courses and feedback as soon as possible.

TS to provide a list of available resources and appointment contact details.

TS and Marc Sellis (VTM) to review criteria for funding for courses.

MM to add to the agenda next time

8 NVQs

CSC. JW stated that Customer Services Staff were offered the opportunity to take up NVQ’s with Brockenhurst College. Those taking up the offer were informed that they must do so in their own time. JW felt that this was not reasonable based on the fact that the offer had been made by SWT Management. TS emphasised that at the moment NVQs were not an essential qualification for staff to do their job in this case and as such the development was personal. However, TS did volunteer to contact the manager concerned to advise accordingly.

TS to contact Potter (CSC) advise on facilitation.

Rob to NVQ

9 Release for Lead ULRs

Appropriate Release. SS raised the issue of appropriate time being allocated for ULR release. TS informed the group that it was felt that current release times were adequate. No increase in release for ULR’s; current arrangement stays.

No action

Item 10 Any Other Business

Discussion ULR release for courses. MT stated that two individuals applications for release for a course provided by the TSSA has been declined, even though the request was made within the agreed 21day period. Clarification was requested as to why the requests were declined. Meeting adjourned at 1430 for clarification on Company position relating to this release. Meeting re-convened at 1455. TS discussed with ER. ER require a breakdown of the learning outcomes of the course to review its appropriateness for ULRs as the course was deemed to be too generic. MT felt that this fell in to the 10 days release rules. As such the issue will be taken up with the Senior Regional Manager. SS further stated that the company could not dictate what was and was not appropriate and that he would take the issue up further with Company Council. TS acknowledged SS’s point.

Action(s)

Next Meeting:15th Sept 2009 Learning Partnership Meeting 11.00-13.00 Beaulieu Rm FBC